The aim of this proposal is to develop experimental models to investigate the effects of mixtures of persistent pollutants present in food on the developing nervous system. Major objectives are to: <OL> <LI> Develop standardised testing protocols based on the use of multiple in vitro experimental models. <LI> Identify specific biochemical, molecular and functional end-points based on the mechanism of action of specific neurotoxicants, both alone and in combination. <LI> Evaluate the neurotoxic effects of the selected substances during development and the long-term consequences, with special attention to gender-related aspects. <LI> Define quantitative measures of observed effects for risk-assessment purposes, and incorporate currently available human and animal data to derive guidelines and exposure limits as gold standards.
The complexity of the topic and its aims require the use of relevant experimental approaches and the evaluation of a wide range of mechanism-based parameters on a panel of selected experimental models representing possible targets for the selected toxicants. The project uses a multidisciplinary approach, combining in vitro and in vivo experimental strategies, stretching from single-cell analyses to the analysis of behaviour. The dose- dependent effects of persistent pollutants, such as PCBs and methylmercury, on the developing nervous system and the long-term consequences will be evaluated. All these chemicals are well-known neurotoxicants, targeting different cell populations via mechanisms of action that are not fully understood. In addition, there is a lack of studies on the neurotoxic effects of simultaneous exposure to low doses on the multiple targets that are affected by these compounds, especially related to gender aspects. The results of our work will generate novel information about the interactions of the selected neurotoxicants.
<P>For more information about this project, please visit the <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/research/biosociety/food_quality/projects/029_en.ht…; target="_blank">European Commission Food Quality and Safety in Europe</a>.